During my recent visit to San Francisco, I stayed at the Pacific Tradewinds Hostel. I spent 5 days – and as many nights – in this hostel, upon the invitation of Darren, the hostel owner.
The Pacific Tradewinds is an independent, eco-conscious hostel right in the heart of the City by the Bay. (The hostel is centrally-located, nestled between San Francisco’s Chinatown and the Business District.) For those coming from the airport or using public transportation, it’s a 10-min. walk from the Montgomery Muni/BART station. (You can hop on the BART directly at the San Francisco International airport.)
Darren, the hostel owner, invited me earlier this year after he saw my tweet mentioning my upcoming trip to San Francisco. He is truly proud of his establishment and wants to make it known to the whole world. Add to that that he is also sensitive to the reality and challenges of plus-size travellers, which is awesome.
— Pacific Tradewinds (@sfhostel) January 22, 2018
Backpackers: 21st Century “Hippies”
At Pacific Tradewinds Hostel, I found a perfect balance of the hippie-60/70’s spirit of the original youth hostels combined with an actual, modern backpacker vibe.
Shelby, the current manager of Pacific Tradewinds, sure knows how to create and maintain that important balance. When she’s not working at reception, she’s often showing people around, leading activities of all sorts (including the traditional bar crawl) and makes sure that the place runs smoothly. She and Julien – a fellow hostel employee – have been a great source of help to figure out my way around town. (They were also at the core of our group when we decided to attend the Pride Parade, the day after my arrival.)
A Good Choice for Plus-Size People?
Overall, the equipment and amenities never “failed” the plus-size traveller that I am. In terms of hostel equipment, there are two things that matter the most to me: 1) the beds and 2) the lockers.
In both cases, the Pacific Tradewinds Hostel hits the jackpot. The sturdy steel-made bunk beds are large and built solid enough for bigger, heavier bodies. The beds are also quite comfortable and never squeak.
The huge steel locker allocated to each traveller can contain A LOT of stuff. (It would be possible to fit 3 times the luggage I had in a single locker, I swear!)
The showers are numerous AND spacious enough (even the smallest, stall-type ones) for me to wash my voluptuous self without feeling cramped. On a total of 5 days and 5 nights, I think I waited once for a shower, and it was less than 10 minutes. (Note: I didn’t check the showers on the floor above, so maybe there was one available there…) The overall cleanliness of the hostel (toilets, showers, kitchen, hallways, etc.) is also commendable. (Though cleanliness can also have a lot to do with the travellers present in the hostel, the “pick up after yourselves” message seems to work out well there.)
There is also a variety of seating options (bench, arm-free chairs) in the reception/lobby/common area.
The Pacific Tradewinds Hostel scores quite high in my book. But you need to know about the stairs. (I personally got used to it after a couple of days.) There are 4 floors to climb to get to reception and some dorms. (One less floor for the quiet dorms.)
The reason why I mention the stairs? Because some travellers have restricted mobility and it’s an important info to know.
The hostel staff is always eager to help bring your luggage up – or down – if needed!
Pacific Tradewinds Hostel Rating: 4.5 / 5
The only reason why the Pacific Tradewinds Hostel doesn’t get a perfect score is the stairs. It could be problematic for people who have mobility issues. If it’s not your case, this place will most likely be the ideal gateway to explore San Francisco.
(Stay tuned for my impressions on the City by the Bay!)
Pacific Tradewinds Hostel – www.san-francisco-hostel.com
680 Sacramento Street, San Francisco, CA, 94111
Facebook: @Pacific Tradewinds Backpacker Hostel